The insistent ringing of the phone late at night is always disconcerting. It is a noise that immediately fills me with dread: someone is reaching out to me in the darkness with bad news. So it was with a measure of anxiety that, late one night in November 1987, I turned on the lamp on our bedroom table, leaned over toward the trilling phone, and picked up the receiver.
I was relieved to discover that the caller was my partner, Ira Harris. A gigantic man with an explosive temperament, Ira had dominated the investment banking business in Chicago as the resident partner of Salomon Brothers until I had succeeded in...